A Canadian journalist accused of antisemitism by a pro-Israel advocacy group says she was fired for “speaking up about Palestine.”

On October 29, Zahraa Al-Akhrass, who calls herself a “Palestinian journalist,” said on her Instagram that she was fired by Global News. 

“Global’s decision to terminate me for my personal opinions came officially on October 17,” Al-Akhrass, who has been on maternity leave since January, told True North.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Al-Akhrass called Israeli soldiers “racist, brutal occupiers who are hungry for Palestinian blood.”

She wrote in another post that “Zionism is Nazism.”

Furthermore, Al-Akhrass posted social media content appearing to defend Hamas and criticizing Western media, alleged Honest Reporting Canada, a pro-Israel media watchdog group

“You cannot just label one group as terrorist because they refuse to submit to your occupation and expect the whole world to follow your racist narrative,” she wrote in one X post.

Hamas is currently officially listed as a terrorist group by the Government of Canada.

Al-Akhrass also shared a post by a controversial commentator that aimed to downplay Israeli casualties from the Hamas attack, inaccurately suggesting that 50% of those killed were soldiers.

Al-Akhrass has since removed some of the reposts.

“That retweet came well after I was terminated from Global, it has nothing to do with my termination. It’s been brought to my attention that (the initial post’s author) holds views that I want to make clear I don’t share,” said Al-Akhrass.

She added that Global News didn’t single out any individual post but that her overall social media activity combined gave the perception of bias.

The journalist also published a video on Instagram calling the ongoing conflict, “Israel’s genocide of my people.”

In an interview with True North, Al-Akhrass claimed that “what’s happening right now in Gaza is a genocide according to experts and human rights groups.”

The United Nations and international judicial bodies have never concluded that Israel is conducting a genocide. Claims of genocide were most recently levelled against Israel by representives of Islamic nations traditionally opposed to Israel, like Egypt and Iran. 

“Everything I said after my termination shouldn’t be used to justify my termination, including what I said in the video,” said Al-Akhrass.

She said in the video that instead of the organization giving her words of sympathy for what she must be experiencing as a Palestinian, she was met with investigations, reminders about social media policies, and demands to stop posting. 

“Do we matter at all? No one in this workplace would even acknowledge my pain,” Al-Akhrass said.

While taking aim at her former employer, Al-Akhrass questioned whether Global News’ practices were “ethical, moral, humane, diverse, or inclusive.”

“I don’t even know,” she said. 

Honest Reporting Canada claimed Al-Akhrass’ explicit and partisan views on the Israel-Hamas conflict undermine journalistic objectivity and neutrality.

Al-Akhrass responded by saying that those standards of journalism only apply when there’s peace and democracy. She said that journalists operating in the third world operate in an environment that is not stable or democratic. Journalists in these circumstances have an obligation to stand with the oppressed against the oppressive, she said.

“I believe the whole narrative must change in Western newsrooms to adapt to different realities outside the Western world. Unfortunately, I have tried to do so over the years with Global, but you see the result. I was terminated,” said Al-Akhrass.

When contacted, Global News told True North it cannot comment on specific employee matters due to confidentiality.

“However, Global News does not condone violence or discrimination of any kind toward individuals or groups. Commentary by our employees expressing or amplifying violence or discrimination against any group is not condoned and is a violation of our company policies,” a spokesperson for the network told True North.

Global News added that it “respects and welcomes a diversity of views by individuals” but that it “must remain fair and unbiased.”

“Our employees are expected to uphold our ethical codes, including our Journalistic Principles and Practices which limit how personal opinions are shared publicly by journalists,” the spokesperson added.

Al-Akhrass said the firestorm has been difficult, even pushing her to the verge of suicide.

“Might as well go kill myself… Cannot take any more of this…,” she wrote in one comment.

Another Canadian journalist, Yara Jamal of CTV News Atlantic, was also fired for comments denying Israel’s right to exist and organizing an anti-Israel demonstration, Honest Reporting Canada claims.